In this intelligent and incisive book, Olga Bogdashina explores old and new theories of sensory perception and communication in autism. Drawing on linguistics, philosophy, neuroscience, psychology, anthropology and quantum mechanics, she looks at how the nature of the senses inform an individual's view of the world, and how language both reflects and constructs that view.
Examining the 'whys' and 'hows' of the senses, and the role of language, Olga Bogdashina challenges common perceptions of what it means to be 'normal' and 'abnormal'. In doing so she shows that autism can help to illuminate our understanding of what it means to be human, and of how we develop faculties that shape our cognition, language, and behaviour. In the final chapter, she explores phenomena often associated with the paranormal - including premonitions, telepathy and déjà vu - and shows that these can largely be explained in natural terms.
This book will appeal to anyone with a personal or professional interest in autism, including students and researchers, clinical practitioners, individuals on the autism spectrum and their families, teachers, speech and occupational therapists, and other professionals.
Olga Bogdashina beautifully presents the case for autism being, essentially, a difference in the way we process sensory information... it is refreshing to read a book where an academic freely speaks her mind, and this is a valuable book to have towards the ongoing explanation of what autism is and how to see the world through our eyes.
Brilliantly, Olga weaves together science and real life experiences of people with autism bringing the reader to a greater understanding of how sensory differences can bring people with autism to the edges and beyond of neurotypical perception. This book has my highest recommendation for anyone wanting to learn more about sensory awareness and perception for people with autism - as well as for themselves.
Stephen Shore, Ed.D., Assistant Professor of Special Education at Adelphi University and internationally known author, presenter, and consultant on issues related to autism.
Will open a few minds to the idea of neurodiversity in the way autistic brains function and appreciation for some of the extraordinary abilities that the autistic individual has to offer society...For any professional who works with autistic individuals and researchers in the field of autism this is a must read book! It explains a perspective that, thus far, is pretty much ignored. As an occupational therapist specializing in sensory integration, as well as an adult on the autism spectrum, I feel that Dr. Bogdashina makes a lot of sense.
Making Sense of Autism, LLC
This book gives an interesting and theoretical insight into different sensory experiences of individuals with autism spectrum disorder. The key points are about the difficulties individuals have with 'filtering' stimuli, and how this leads to sensory deprivation. The author links in experiences of individuals with autism to reinforce the key points and help make the information more accessible.
Speech & Language Therapy in Practice
In Autism and the Edges of the Known World, Bogdashina demonstrates in a compelling way how autism can provide us with rich, irreducible clues about how we are able to comprehend the world as it is and communicate that knowledge effectively in language. Her encyclopaedic acquaintance with the subject, both in terms of empirical research and theoretical reflection, is vertiginous in its detail and illuminating in its depth. Autism, with its sensory deficits and distortions, provides us with a uniquely valuable prism for rendering the mystery of all 'creaturely knowing' as a subtle dialectic between that which is primordially close and that which sublimely different.
Dr Ian Kenway, Director of the Centre for the international Study of Cyberethics and Human Rights, Cardiff University
This is an entrancing read and an excellent reflection of Dr. Bogdashina's wide range of interests. It is to her credit as an academician that she draws upon such varied subjects as philosophy and quantum mechanics to illustrate her thought process and call into question different aspects of our individuality.
Manuel Casanova, Gottfried and Gisela Kolb Endowed Chair in Psychiatry, University of Louisville
Recognition of difference is, in essence, what this brave book is about. The author, who has worked extensively in the field of autism as a teacher, lecturer and researcher, and has an adult son with autism, draws on ideas from a wide range of disciplines, finding, for instance, that explanations for some of the peculiarities of sensory perception in autistic people can be found in works of anthropology and philosophy dating back a century or two... Autism isn't always about having deficits or having less; sometimes it is about having more. I was particularly interested in the section showing how autistic people can actually 'resonate' with their surroundings much more than 'normal' people can... At the end of this stimulating and highly readable book, Bogdashina comes back to the restricting stance of the official scientific community, which is "so opposed to anything conceived as supernatural that those who genuinely try to understand these (not necessarily supernatural but yet unexplained) phenomena are afraid to speak out... She makes a plea for more open-mindedness and for a greater willingness to learn from autism about different ways to experience the world around us.`
Autism and the Edges of the Known World: Sensitivites, Language and the Constructed Reality blends science and the experiences of people with autism in a fine survey considering traditional ideas of sensory perception and how they pertain to the autism experience. Linguistics, philosophy, science and health alike blend in a wider survey of how the sense and language interact differently in the autistic individual - and how autism can help foster new concepts of what it means to be human.
The Midwest Book Review
The book makes use of the personal experiences of autistic people, including Temple Grandin and Donna Williams. Their own words help illustrate a vibrant world that many non-autistic people are cut off from. Bogdashina also delves into the studies and reports of many established scientists, both to support her own statements and to offer alternative viewpoints. While her writing is lovely and inspiring, it is always based in scientific methodology and reflects her respect for scientific process. While other educators and researchers will find much to ponder on this book, Bogdashina's writing is also accessible to readers without advanced degrees. Even when dealing with complex subject matter, her writing is lucid and engaging. Readers looking for answers about autism will find Bogdashina's books fresh and useful; anyone interested in the questions of consciousness and experience will find it riveting.
Olga Bogdashina's book is a magnificent and much-needed account of the nature of sensory differences in autism, full of fresh, fascinating and perceptive insights.
Adam Feinstein, autism researcher, Autism Cymru, and editor of Looking Up
Whether your interest in autism is personal or professional, this magnificent book will appeal to you. The author Olga Bogdashina has worked widely on matters to do with the condition. She is a teacher, researcher and lecturer. She lectures around the world. She was recently in Inverness and is an inspiring and motivational speaker. She's the director of the first day centre for autistic children in Ukraine. She also has a grown-up son with autism ... Bogdashina unpacks all our assumptions about the 'real' world. She asserts that 'neurotypicals' (non-autistic people) are restricted – "the verbal determines and confines their thinking" ... I endorse every word of the blurb – read this book and you'll learn a lot about autism – but more importantly you'll learn about yourself.
Anne Stormont, Write Enough blog
Olga Bogdashina, MA Education (Autism), PhD (Linguistics) has worked extensively in the field of autism as teacher, lecturer and researcher, with a particular interest in sensory-perceptual and communication problems in autism. Since 1994, she has been the director of the first Day Centre for autistic children in Ukraine and the President of the Autism Society, Ukraine. Olga teaches and lectures around the world. She is currently a Visiting Lecturer at Birmingham University and Consultant Psychologist for Services for Adults with Autism, UK. She has an adult son with autism.